God’s Economic System—Part One

God is not an American Capitalist

The Bible does not spell out a specific economic system, at least it is not expressed in those terms. God has given a broad plan for mankind, which covers all aspects of life. He gave six hundred and thirteen laws in the Old Testament. These set out principles to govern all of life. Within these are laws which govern money, taxes, production of good, laws regarding property, personal liability, and methods to assist the poor. God does not have a system for economics and a septate system for worship and another one for government. There is only one system, and it is all encompassing.

It is somewhat like studying the human body. We can look at and study the Skeletal System, the Digestive System, the Lymphatic System, the Circulatory System, and others, but these are somewhat arbitrary divisions, because none of these systems can function in isolation. They are all dependent upon one another. The same is true of God’s Economic System. The system starts with an overall command to “Love God and keep his commandments”. Sometimes it is phrased as, “Fear God and keep his commandments”. The point is that God is in the center of everything. To try to apply the principles of God’s economic system apart from God, is just foolishness. To build an economic system without the other supporting moral and social principles is equally foolish.

That being said, we will be looking at the main principles of God’s system as they apply to economics. Never lose sight of the fact that the other aspects of God’s system must also be applied for the economic portion to function properly.

As we explore God’s system, I ask that you carefully compare our current American system to God’s system. As you do, you will discover that our system has diverged significantly from God’s plan. It will take some personal and emotional restraint on your part to remain open minded. Money is a very personal thing, and every aspect of our lives are deeply intertwined with our money, how we earn it and how we use it. The tendency will be to put up your guard, defend the American system and your part in it. Try to remain open minded and take in all that God wants to teach you.

God’s system is so different from our system that it is nearly impossible to imagine following God’s system. It is even more difficult to imagen a way to transform our system to be in line with God’s system. I know. I have racked my brain to try to figure out a way. So far, I have not found one. I have changed my focus to try to identify key principles. Then find ways to incrementally change our system, step by step to align with God’s system. It will be a long, and in some ways a painful process. It requires an enormous amount of faith and trust in God. We have been conditioned to place our faith and security in our money. To place our security in God is a huge step of faith for us Americans.

Knowing that the journey is long, means that we need to start walking now. But first we need to understand where we are headed. That is what we are working on here.

This discussion will focus on three key areas: Part One will focus on Money and loans, Part Two on personal Property, and Part Three on welfare/security systems. These are interrelated so there will be some duplication and crossover as each one is discussed.

Money

The economic system used in America is called Capitalism. More accurately it should be called corporate capitalism. Capitalism places money at the center. The acquisition of money is the central thrust. We measure the health of our economy based on the movement of money. If money is flowing freely, if there are a lot of transactions taking place then the economic indicators say that the economy is healthy.

In the American system it is said that there are two ways of making money. There are people making money (labor) and money making money (capital). Please note three things. The overall focus is on making money. Wealth is measured based on the accumulation of money. Secondly note that making money through labor has limits. We all are limited to twenty-four hours in a day. We have physical limitations to the labor we can do. Even people who make a living through intellectual activities and management of others have limitations. Managed correctly a person can make a tremendous amount of money through personal effort, but there are still limits.

Capital is a different story. There is no limit to how much money can be accumulated. That capital can be continuously invested to generate more money. The power of capital is dominate in the American economic system. That is why it is called Capitalism rather than Laborism.

In God’s system money, or capital, is rather insignificant. God’s system is primarily a labor-based system. The economy is based on the production of goods and services rather than capital. To accomplish this God established some foundational laws which made a capitalistic system in Israel difficult if not impossible.

Usury Law

Simply put, God prohibited loaning money for profit to fellow Israelites. Banking as we know it was impossible. It is hard for us to imagine such as system because banking, borrowing, and investing is such a part of our lives.

There are some underlying principles here. Profiting by loaning money at interest was considered taking advantage of others. It equates to placing them into forced labor. “The borrower is servant to the lender”. The nation of Israel was created from a nation of slaves in Egypt. God’s desire was to create a nation of people who are free from bondage of any type. Note that the Israelites were permitted to loan money to foreigners at interest. Profiting from foreign nations and bringing their wealth into Israel was allowed. To lend to other nations is considered a blessing of God, and to borrow from other nations is considered his curse.  Deuteronomy 28:1-14 (Blessings), Deuteronomy 28:15-68 (Cursings).

Note that historically Jews have taken this to heart. Throughout the world, Jews have participated in banking on a corporate level and as individuals. Many have accumulated tremendous amounts of wealth. It has been a contributing factor to much of the resentment and persecution of the Jews throughout history.

God’s law against lending for interest does not preclude all loaning of money. In fact, God commands his people to lend money freely to those in need and to not charge interest. At the end of each seven year cycle all debts are forgiven. If you loaned money to the needy there was no guarantee that you would get your money back. That was not the point. The point was that every individual was to consider it his responsibility to help his neighbor get them through the hard times and get them re-established. God inferred that he would repay the debt through his blessings. This economic system would help the community as a whole and everyone benefits.

When we compare God’s economic system to ours, the contrast is staggering. In the area of borrowing and lending America’s system is the exact opposite of God’s system. In America borrowing is considered a basic part of life. We even consider having a good credit rating as a measure of personal economic prosperity. We borrow for nearly everything. It is nearly impossible to buy a house without a thirty-year mortgage. We borrow for cars. Day to day purchases are made with credit cards. The average American adult has about $8,000 in credit card debt.

Americans view borrowing as a way to get ahead. If you want to start a business, you are told to write a business plan, borrow start-up capital, and get an accountant. If you are renting a house or apartment, you are told you should borrow money and buy a house because it is a good investment.

As you progress in your career, you are told that you should save and invest your money. The goal is to reach a point in life when you can retire. Instead of working, your money is working for you. You have transitioned from being a borrower to being a lender.

Note who borrows in America. We tend to all borrow, but to borrow you must have good credit. If you demonstrate that you can and will pay back the money, then banks will loan you money. If you are poor and cannot demonstrate the ability to pay it back, then you will probably not get the loan. If you do get a loan, it will have a higher interest rate. This is the exact opposite of God’s system. In God’s system loans are to help the poor, the unstable. In the American system the loaner profits at the expense of the average reliable worker. In God’s system the poor are cared for to stabilize them and reestablish them. Individuals do not profit from lending, but everyone profits from their labor and from caring for each other.

American’s pride themselves on their capitalist economic system. We claim to have the strongest economy in the world. This view is based largely on our high standard of living. It is based on economic measures of our own design. When we use those measures, we are a massive success. When we apply God’s measures it is a much different story. God’s word says that the borrower is servant to the lender. It says that if we are experiencing God’s blessing we will lend to other nations and not borrow. He says that if we are under his curse, we will borrow and not lend. According to God’s measure we have become a nation of slaves. We have lost our freedom. Others control us. We are under God’s curse because we have failed to fear God and keep his commandments.

Truth by Assertion

There is a definite pattern of how new trends and cultural values are established. I call it truth by assertion.

To the best of my knowledge, in the past, cultural value changes just seemed to happen gradually over time. I am sure with some study, historians can identify what factors came together to drive change, but to the casual observer, it seemed very natural and organic.

Today’s pattern is very intentional. A person or group will suddenly begin to assert that something is true. The most noticeable right now is, “There are more than two genders”. Some assert that there are an infinite number of genders and that each person can define their own gender.

The pattern is well defined and follows specific steps. It goes like this. Step one—Forcefully assert that something is true. Rational, reason and logic are of no importance. In fact, they should be avoided completely. The only thing that is important is that the assertion is made with confidence and force.

The second step is to communicate, by presentation, not by argument, the assumption of acceptance. That is to act as if the “truth” is obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense.

The third step is to communicate, by presentation, not by argument, the assertion is destined to become accepted nationally or even globally. The tone is that progressive persons are early adopters. If we are to evolve and improve as a society these are the changes which will inevitably come. In the world of propaganda this is known as the bandwagon effect. If people believe that the majority of people are going that way they will “jump on the bandwagon”.

The fourth step is to silence anyone who would even begin to disagree with the assertion. This can be done in several ways. You can simply ignore the person, treating them as if they are of no value and anything they say is not worth even acknowledging. Politicians are experts at this. They will use statements like, “I am not going to dignify that with a response.” Another method is to attack the person’s character. Normally this is done by labeling the person as a racist, bigot, homophobe, or some other label. These types of labels communicate that, “this person is hateful and bias to the point that they cannot think straight. Anything they say should be discarded without consideration. If you do consider anything they say, you are also…” (whatever the label is). In logic this is called an ad homonym argument, meaning to attack the messenger rather than the message.

Scoffing, ridiculing, and mocking are also amazingly effective. Comedians are experts at this. I am told the Madalyn Murray O’Hare, the famous atheist and communist, was very talented at this. Christians would challenge her to a debate. The Christians would have all the arguments and facts lined up. They would deliver them in a stern, formal style. Madelyn O’Hare would be lighthearted and up-beat. She would joke and mock and have a good time ridiculing her opponent. O’Hare would win the hearts of the audience with her lighthearted delivery. The onlookers would say to themselves. ‘I just want to have fun like her. I do not care about the facts if it means I have to be stern and sober like the Christians.’

Recently more steps have been added.

Step five—“Fact Checking” on social media. This has two levels. The first is tags, which infer that the information may not be accurate. It is not fact checking. It is designed to undermine confidence in the statements offered. The assertions are seldom if ever tagged with these warnings. Only opinions opposing the assertions are questioned. Note that a “warning” can be much more effective than an actual “fact check”. A “fact check” can be challenged. A “warning” cannot be challenged because It does not claim that the statement is inaccurate. It only says that it may be inaccurate. It places doubt in the minds of the reader.

Fact checking can, and often is, manipulative. On any issue you can find experts on both sides. They both claim to be factual. It is easy to produce the results you want by carefully selecting your sources and your experts. Simply put, fact checking is not necessarily factual.

Step six—Censorship. This takes place in several ways. The methods have been refined over the past decade or so. It works like this. Any person who may be effective in countering the assertion is identified. The they are labeled as mentioned above. One of the labels will always be that they are “controversial”. Then a small group of people are assembled to claim that statements made by the person are offensive and damaging. Many times, this is enough to cause the person to be denied the opportunity to be heard. This method has been used on college campuses and elsewhere to prevent scheduled speakers the opportunity to speak. The same technique is being used to censor individuals on social media.

If the first attempt to censor fails, then they move it up a notch. They add that if the person is permitted to voice their opinion then violence may erupt. The source of the violence is not important. They may claim that the person will incite his/her followers to violence. Or the public may be so offended that spontaneous violence will erupt. The claim will be made that in the interest of public safety this person must be censored. If necessary, a violent protest is staged to prove their point. Of course, the people responsible for the violence are not held accountable. Instead, the speaker is blamed for inciting violence.

Step seven—Cancel culture. In cancel culture, anyone who is considered a threat to the assertion is threated and attacked. The first level of this is to find something that they have said and twist, distort or reinterpret it, to make it “offensive” or “hateful”. Then ask for a public apology.  This is amazingly effective. It gives power and control to the persons making the accusations. It discredits the person whose words have been twisted. It reinforces the labels. Seldom is the apology accepted as honest and sincere. This form of attack tends to make people self-censoring. They speak out less. They are much more guarded in what they say and how they say it. In essence the attacker continues to control the persons speech.

Most often a person’s financial livelihood is threated. They are told that what they said is so offensive that they must resign from their position or they are fired. Note that they are not fired based on their job performance. They are fired based on their personal beliefs or freely expressing their beliefs or the media spin that has been placed on their statements. Again, this type of attack is extremely effective. Not only do they lose their livelihood, but they also no longer have access to the microphone (the ability to access a large audience). Often, they are afraid to make future statements that may result in retaliation. The attack does not end at them losing their job. Family is attacked and possibly anyone associated with them are attacked. The intent is to blacklist them so no one will hire them.

Cancel culture extends way beyond the individual. The same methods of intimidation are used against businesses and corporations. They are told that they must get on board and support the assertion, or they may be subject to boycotts. This technique was used quite effectively by Jessie Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. His method was extortion. He would approach a major corporation to publicly support and donate to his organization. If they refused, he would label them as racist and call for a boycott. More often than not, the corporations would capitulate and make a large donation. For many years Jessie Jackson went from one corporation to another extorting money in this way.

The thing that is most frightening about these methods is that they were used successfully in Nazi Germany. The Nazis used these tactics of intimidation to silence and destroy anyone who might oppose them. The free exchange of ideas came to an abrupt end. Only one voice was heard. Everyone must comply or be crushed. There was one Party and one opinion. The Party only needed to assert that something was true. No longer were concepts examined and debated. No longer were there a wide range of opinions that leads to deeper understanding of the complexities of society.  They crossed the line to a totalitarian government which wreaked havoc on the world. The Nazis tactics have been used and refined by many other totalitarian regimes. My fear is that when we begin to use these tactics we start down a path which will lead us to totalitarianism.

Thomas Edison—Hero or Villain?

Thomas Edison is the most prolific inventor in history. He was known as the wizard of Menlo Park. His greatest invention was not the incandescent lightbulb. He never received a patent for his greatest invention. His best invention was the Research Laboratory. He put together: investors, facilities, equipment, systems of investigation and experimentation and a talented staff. Together they developed the most significant inventions of the last two centuries.

They invented the incandescent lightbulb, the carbon microphone (which became the basis for the telephone), the phonograph, the movie camera, projector, and hundreds more. These devices completely changed how we live. Let us take a closer look.

The lightbulb made indoor lighting accessible and affordable. Before the lightbulb, indoor lighting was difficult, dirty, time consuming or expensive and a fire hazard. You could chop, dry and store wood for the fireplace. You could use candles or oil lamps. If you lived in a city, you may have gas lights. Because of limited lighting people would do more activities outside in the sunlight. The next option would be to work near a window. Daylight was a precious thing so people would get up early to take advantage of it. They would also go to bed closer to sundown. In the evenings families would tend to congregate in the same room to share the light. For entertainment, one person nearest the light might read and the others would listen. Or someone would tell a story.

The lightbulb changed all that. Now we sleep in late. Then we stay up till all hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning. Sleep deprivation is a major health concern. Families no longer spend time together; they isolate themselves in separate rooms. They no longer have shared interactive activities. Those have been replaced by parallel activities, where they sit in the same room watching the same TV, thinking that they are spending time together. The lightbulb changed our lives dramatically, but not necessarily in a good way. When it comes to technology, we tend to look at the obvious good things and we ignore the more subtle side effects.

I will discuss the next items as a group. The carbon microphone, phonograph, movie camera and projector. The microphone made large gatherings and performances possible. The modern rock concert entertains tens of thousands of people at one time.

The phonograph made possible permanent recordings of voices, music and sounds of all kinds. No longer does a person need to be there when it happens. These experiences can now be shared around the world. The recording travels rather than the people. Not only do recordings travel from one place to another, but they also travel through time. Recordings can be saved for generations. They can also be reproduced, with millions of copies being made.

What the phonograph did for sound, the movie camera did for moving images. It was not long before others developed ways to put sound and moving images together.

These marvelous inventions changed our lives. They particularly changed entertainment. Up until the time of Edison, entertainment was limited to small personal gatherings. Sometimes persons with particularly strong voices could entertain crowds of several hundred or even a few thousand. That was the exception and was limited to large urban centers. For most people entertainment was a family affair. Someone in the family would learn to play an instrument. The piano, guitar, violin, or something else. They would play for each other. Sometimes they would gather around the piano and sing together. If guests came over there would always be a little concert. Edison changed all that. Large performances replaced the small ones. Playing music and singing in the home was gradually replaced by recordings. Even the large stage performances were replaced by movies. The cost of entertainment dropped. Due to mass production recordings and movies were widely distributed and cheap. Everyone could afford to go to a movie occasionally. Now everyone could see the very best entertainers.

But what happened to the rest of the entertainers? They had to compete with recordings and movies. The “starving artist” became the norm. The small artist became small and unappreciated because now he or she was compared with the major “stars”. Thomas Edison invented stardom, or at least he launch it to a whole new level. Most people gradually stopped learning to play instruments and sing. If they did it was for Church or for a school class or choir. If people did develop their talents, they would have few opportunities to share them.

Thomas Edison changed the world. Not just on the stage but also in our homes. He changed the way we viewed entertainment, he changed the way we purchased entertainment and how we consume it. He changed the idea of who could be an entertainer, or who could entertain. Entertainment became something left to the professionals. It was not long before entertainers became celebrities. People came to worship and admired people that they did not even know.

These inventions of Thomas Edison are seldom if ever used anymore. Newer and better versions have replaced them, but the changes they created remain. Incandescent lightbulbs have been replaced by LEDs. We now download electronic recordings to our smart phones. We watch movies in our living rooms on large flat screen televisions or on an iPad.

There is one more change that took place. Mass production led to mass consumerism. It changed what was produced. The small local audience of the past had content that was tailored for them. Mass production is designed for the mass audience. They develop content for the broadest market.

The most dramatic effect has been in electronic media news. In the past people would come out to local lectures. They would attend the city council meetings or read the local newspaper to find out what was happening. Now we turn to electronic news media. They only cover national news because it has the largest market. Now we look for national leaders for solutions to local problems. Just as major media creates a one size fits all approach, the national leaders have a one size fits all approach. Cities and States have lost their character and their individuality. We are no longer allowed to be different. We are required to conform to standards set by persons who we don’t know and who don’t know us. Just like entertainment has left the home and moved to the national stage, law and regulations and local control has gradually vanished. Celebrity politicians have made their way into our homes to influence and control us.

I blame Thomas Edison. He and his team of inventors gave us the tools that made it happen. Was it intentional? No. Thomas Edison is not some type of villain. He did not have evil intent. There is no way he could have envisioned far reaching effects of his inventions of society. Once the inventions were unleashed the results were inevitable. That is how it is with technology. We see all the promise of how it will make life better. We do not consider the side effects. It is impossible to have one without the other. That is the way it is. Technology will never be held back for the public good. Its destructive power will always accompany the good and will often override it.

Was Thomas Edison a hero or a villain? To me he will always be one of my heroes for his amazing ability to invent and change the world. At the same time, he will be a bit of a villain to me for what was swept away in the wake of his inventions. Is there a way to embrace the good parts of change and prevent the negative? I do not think so. It makes me sad and a bit frightened about the future.

Upside-Down Government

For more than four years Donald Trump dominated the news. Now the focus is beginning to shift to President Biden. The President is looked at, to address our every problem. It truly does not matter what the issue is, the people cry out and say the government should do something about it. They do not mean the government; they mean the President. We are talking about everything: student loans, the suicide rate, homelessness, education, climate change, healthcare, lies on the internet, unemployment, mental health, racism, social justice, the spread of infectious disease, pollution, plastic waste in the oceans, the cost of pharmaceuticals, e-cigarettes, local law enforcement, people crossing the border, gender equality, gender identity, pay equity, domestic violence, saving the mud sucking guppies, guns, gangs, opioids, hate speech, wetlands, clean energy, election fraud, and on and on and on.   

How is it that we have come to expect so much from the President? I blame Thomas Edison, but I will get into that in a future article.

We have forgotten history. We have forgotten the scope and intent of the Federal Government. The war for independence was fought for several reasons, but basically it was fought against an overbearing, detached, central government that was more of a liability than an asset. To put it in terms of family dynamics, the Colonies were the children of England. The children had grown up and were becoming independent. They no longer needed the parents controlling every aspect of their lives. So, as happens in these situations, the children declared independence.

That was not the end. Now there were thirteen independent colonies that had become independent states. They were not anxious to place themselves under the control of another large, detached, overbearing, centralized government. The solution was to write a constitution that would clearly layout the structure of a new government and set limits to what it can and cannot do. In a nutshell, the Federal government would handle national defense, based on the participation of State Militias. It would handle international affairs on behalf of the States, it would print a national currency, and it would regulate activities between the States. Before the States would ratify the new Constitution they added ten Amendments which have become known as the Bill of Rights. They were intended to further curtail the power of the Federal Government. The Tenth Amendment basically says, if the Constitution does not specifically state that a power belongs to the Federal Government then the government cannot assert that power. Any power not given to the Federal Government remains with the States or the People.

The Constitution was designed to give the Federal just enough power to do the things it needed to do and no more. The concept was limited government. The Federal Government was supposed to be small. The bulk of the power was to be placed in the hands of the States. If you carry that pattern further, you find that power should increase as it approaches home. Stated the other way, the family should have the greatest say in day to day living, then the City, County, State and finally the Federal Government. That is the way it was intended.

This understanding of government structure came from the Bible. In the Bible the family is the smallest level of government. Moses established a system of judges. Each group of ten families would select one man from among them to settle disputes, then Moses appointed that person. The same was done for a group of fifty families, a hundred, a thousand on up. Government was personal. You selected from people you personally know. Only what needed to move up the ladder went higher up the chain, and it was handed up to people they knew and trusted.

The only time Israel had a dominate central Government was under Solomon. After his death there was a crisis. The northern tribes objected to the high taxes. They objected to their money and resources being sent far away to enrich Jerusalem and big national projects. The result was civil war and a breakup of the nation. In Deuteronomy 17:14-17 God warned about a king like Solomon.

God knew that tightly controlled and responsive local government is best. Somehow, we have turned it all upside-down. Few of us know who our local Mayor is. We cannot name our city councilpersons. We are even less likely to know our county and state representatives or even our Congressperson. But we all know who the President is. We place expectations on him far beyond his power or ability. We personally endow him with powers which he is restricted from exercising according to the Constitution. We expect the President to deal with racism, genre identity, hate speech, communications on social media. In essence we want the President to fix all our personal and social problems. We want him to control all of the undesirable behaviors of others. We actually want him to change how people think and what they believe. We expect that it applies only to others, not to us. If we give the President the power to fix all of the things we claim to want we have given him total control. This is more than dangerous; it would be disastrous. The power you give government to control others will soon be used to control you.

It is time to turn government on its head. It is time to return it to the design of God and the design of our founding fathers. It would return some level of sanity. Stop looking to the President or the Government to solve all the problems.

Eat Grass

Before Donald Trump announced that he would run for president in 2016 there were a few self-proclaimed prophets of God who had predicted that he would become president. Some of them called him Cyrus. The message was that, in Old Testament times, God used Cyrus, the pagan Persian king, to free the Jews from captivity and allow them to return to Jerusalem, rebuild the wall, the Temple, the city and the nation.

These prophets acknowledged that Trump does not look like the perfect “Christian” President. He has been married three times and has a reputation as womanizer. He is arrogant and abrasive. The humility of Jesus is not his strong point to say the least. He is much more like a pompous, ancient Persian king, but just like Cyrus, that does not stop God from using him to make a nation great again.

The same prophets who predicted that Donald Trump would be President in 2016, returned to predict his victory in 2020. Maybe they were right. Maybe Donald Trump did win the election, but he is not President. If God wanted him to be President, then why isn’t Trump President now?

I would like to point to another Old Testament king, Nebuchadnezzar. He was the king of Babylon. In Jeremiah 27:6 God says, “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” God calls this incredibly arrogant, pagan king, “my servant”. This is the king the besieged Jerusalem, tore down the wall, destroyed God’s Holy Temple, killed many of the people and took others captive, and took the treasures of God’s Temple and placed them in the temples of his gods. Nebuchadnezzar did all that and God calls him, “my servant”. Why would God do that? Well, you will need to read the full story for yourself.

The point here is that God used a far from perfect king to accomplish His purposes. God blessed Nebuchadnezzar with success and fame. He became the most powerful man in the world at the time. He ruled a massive empire. Nebuchadnezzar took on the title “King of kings and Lord of lords”, a title that is later applied to Jesus.

But Nebuchadnezzar made one huge error. The account is found in Daniel 4:28-37. Nebuchadnezzar was walking around his palace saying, ‘Look at the great city and all that I have built. It all displays how great I am. I really am something!’ God responded, ‘EAT GRASS’ (my paraphrase). For the next seven years Nebuchadnezzar ate grass, until he came to his senses and praised God, the real King of kings and LORD of lords. The one who establishes kings and the one who can take them down.

I believe that President Donald Trump is much like Nebuchadnezzar. He is a less than perfect man. He can be impulsive and abrasive, but he gets things done. Trump said he would Make America Great again, and in a very short time, he did. I believe that President Trump is the servant of God, put in place to accomplish God’s will. Trump made one massive error. He paraded around the country doing rally after rally saying, ‘Look what I have done’ (sometimes he said “we”). At times he even claimed that he might go down is history as ‘the greatest President ever’. The message was clear. The servant of God, empowered by God to accomplish great things against impossible odds and opposition, was taking credit for what God had done. If just may be that God said, ‘EAT GRASS’, for the next four years until you come to your senses, humble yourself and praise God, the King of kings and LORD of lords, the one who establishes Presidents and the one who takes them down.

My prayer is that Donald Trump will give praise and worship to the Most High God. I pray that he comes to his senses and sees God for who He is and sees Donald Trump as God’s humble servant. Then God can restore Donald Trump to the Presidency and restore America to Greatness as “one nation under God.”

Democrat vs Democracy

Are Democrats the guardians of democracy? The words are so similar that one might think they are interchangeable. Recent news broadcasts show Democrat leaders making statements that they must take certain actions “to save democracy”.

I guess we should start this discussion by reviewing what a democracy is. You can look up the definition for yourself if you would like. Here I will give my understanding, I think you will agree with it. Basically, democracy is a form of self-rule, where the power lies with the people who are being governed. This is expressed by voting. The people express their wishes by casting votes and the will of the majority prevails. Often democracy is spoken of as “majority rule”.

In the United States of America, we have a democratic republic. In this case we vote to elect representatives at all levels of government who will vote on our behalf. This is done to make life easier. The average American has plenty to do without having to study and vote on every specific issue. It is much easier to elect someone who can work fulltime on studying and voting on bills.

There are several assumptions attached to the whole voting process. Some of them are stated in or inferred by our Bill of Rights. Assumptions which are central to democracy:

  1. Citizens have a right to self-rule rather than to have others rule over them.
  2. Votes are the primary tool to determine the will of the people.
  3. Majority opinion should prevail. In America we have a balancing standard that the majority should not rule in a way that disregards the concerns of the minority.
  4. That each citizen may vote for the persons who best represent their personal views.
  5. Freedom of conscience is foundational. Meaning that each individual is free to vote in accordance with his/her personal beliefs.
  6. That each person with a right to vote, can vote.
  7. That each person with a right to vote, gets one and only one vote.
  8. That any person who does not have a right to vote, may not vote.
  9. That votes are accurately and fairly, tabulated and verified.

I am not going to debate the legitimacy of the November 2020 election results. You will have to research that for yourselves and come to your own conclusion. So, I will not deal with items 8 through 11. I would like to address the rest of the items as they relate to the past and present positions of the Democrat Party.

  1. Citizens have a right to self-rule rather than to have others rule over them.
    I think that for the most part, Democrats would agree with this statement.
  2. Votes are the primary tool to determine the will of the people.
    History has shown that when the vote of the people does not produce the desired results, then the Democrat Party resorts to non-democratic methods. The most notable is to turn to the courts to overrule the will of the majority. There are many examples in history, Roe vs Wade is the premier example. Before Roe vs Wade, many States had passed laws legalizing abortion in some form or another, and others had restricted them. Democrats did not feel that such an important decision should be left up to the democratic process, so they fabricated a case to make its way to the Supreme Court. I say fabricated because the decision had no effect on the actual case. The unborn baby was a toddler by the time it made it to the Supreme Court.
    This is also shown by the outrage among Democrat leadership over the change in the makeup of the Supreme Court. They could no longer confidently look to the Court to overturn laws created through democratic means.
  3. Majority opinion should prevail. In America we have a balancing standard that the majority should not rule in a way that disregards the concerns of the minority.
    If you have followed the Democrat Party you know that their entire platform and campaigning is based on minority rights. These are not rights protected by the Constitution. No! These are a whole litany of newly created rights for newly created minorities. They are not under majority rule. They are not even on an equal level as majority rule. They are considered superior to majority rule. The laws, actions and court cases indicate that Democrats are promoting minority rule.
    I will give you a simple example we are facing in my hometown. Central Park has a manmade hill and waterfall that is in disrepair. If we are to repair the waterfall and path that leads to the top of Emerald Hill, we must abide by a handicap access law. It would result in a path that would turn Emerald Hill into Concrete Path Hill. The result is we will not allow access to anyone. If the majority will not go to extravagant levels to accommodate the “rights” of the minority then the majority will lose their rights.
  4. That each citizen may vote for the persons who best represent their personal views.
    I will address numbers 4, 5 and 6 together under number 6.
  5. Citizens are equipped with adequate reasoning abilities to select wise and responsible representatives.
  6. That representatives are equipped with adequate reasoning abilities and will vote on behalf of those who elect them.
    Twice the Democrat leadership in Congress has attempted to impeach President Trump. The stated goal was to remove him from office and guarantee that he could not run again.
    Donald Trump was elected through the democratic process. He won the majority electoral votes according to the Constitution. He was fairly elected. During the first impeachment trial, if convicted the Senate could take a series of disciplinary actions, including removing him from office. They chose to seek the highest penalty which would not only remove him from office but to ban him from ever seeking public office again.
    Once President Donald Trump was out of office the Democrats attempted a second impeachment. Quite frankly this was a ridiculous application of the law because impeachment only applies to persons in office. The goal was to undermine democracy in the name of saving democracy. The Democrats wanted to remove the possibility that Trump supporters could elect the person who best represents them. It assumes that citizens are not equipped with adequate reasoning abilities to select wise and responsible representation. To impeach President Trump would not have been a vote on behalf of the people because it would have denied nearly half (or more) of voting Americans their right to select the President of their choice in 2024. Our elected representatives should vote on our behalf in Congress but they should not vote to take away our vote. To do so is undemocratic.
  7. That a free and open exchange of ideas is necessary for citizens to vote intelligently. This concept is so foundational that it was captured in the first amendment.
    The basic idea here is that in a democracy the free exchange of ideas allows for all viewpoints and reasoning to be heard and examined by the public. Then the people will be trusted to weed through the good and the bad, the true and the false and come to their own conclusions. It is apparent that many people no longer trust the democratic process. They no longer believe that the average American should be trusted to weed out truth from fiction. There is a belief that these evaluations should no longer be left to the common Americans. Now we need “fact checkers” and the “intellectually elite” to determine for us what is true and what is false, what should be heard and what should be censored. For the first time in history Americans have been fed information through obvious filters. This is largely a problem within the Democrat Party but it is not limited to them. Republican leadership also believes that voters are persons to be manipulated and used. It seems that no one believes in democracy. No one believes that voters should decide and that good or bad, you get what you vote for, but at least it is your choice.
  8. Freedom of conscience is foundational. Meaning that each individual is free to vote in accordance with his/her personal beliefs.
    Somehow, we have forgotten that democracy rests on freedom of conscience. What that means is that every individual has a right and responsibility to elect his/her representative based on whatever reasoning he/she feels is right. I really don’t care if you are an Islamic who thinks we should have sharia law, or if you are a communist, socialist, libertarian, fundamentalist Christian who thinks we should all live according to the Bible. A black activist that thinks reparations should be paid to descendants of slaves and affirmative action should be the law, or a white supremist who believes that whites should rule, and all others should be subordinate. I will argue my point of view with you and try to persuade you. But when all is said and done I expect you to vote your conscience and I will respect and defend your right to do so. I pray that you will do the same for me. In doing so we will preserve the democracy, our most precious possession as Americans.
    From what I see and hear from Democrats is that they no longer believe that people should think for themselves. They no longer believe that dissent is a good thing that helps us to sharpen our reasoning and consider alternative viewpoint. They will only tolerate those who agree with them. Anyone who disagrees should be shamed, silenced, canceled, and destroyed.

Democrats no longer believe in the foundational elements of democracy. They say that they are fighting to defend democracy but in reality they are working to destroy it.

Globalism or Nationalism—a Biblical Perspective

Recently I was discussing the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel with my youngest son. His is the youth director at his church and has been working on a series of the stories of the Bible. We were discussing whether the story of the Tower of Babel is significant enough to spend a week studying it. The Biblical account is only nine verses long. It is normally communicated as kind of a cute little side story after the account of Noah. It is taught as the story of a group of people trying to build a tower to reach up to heaven. I have heard it said that they were trying to reach God through human means.

The account is short and there is not a lot of detail, so we naturally speculate to fill in the blanks. Here is my understanding of what the story is all about and why it is important to us today.

Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. It starts with the beginning of everything. Then focuses on the beginning of mankind. Then the beginning of sin and evil. Noah tells of the first judgement. The Tower of Babel is the beginning of nations.

The Biblical account from the New King James Version, Genesis chapter 11.

The Tower of Babel

1Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called [c]Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

The primary focus here is that “the people are one and they all have one language”. Remember back at the creation of man, Adam and Eve were instructed to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. These people were not filling the earth. Instead, they were focused on not scattering. Their focus was on remaining unified and making a name for themselves. We are often taught that the tower was an attempt to reach God, and that may be the case. But in the Biblical account the tower was the focal point, a central landmark for a giant city. The tower was a monument to their greatness. It was pride in their accomplishments.

This was not an empty boast. God says, “…and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” I believe the point here is not that God feels threatened by their accomplishments. God is not intimidated. The point is one of pride in human accomplishment apart from God. I agree Bible scholar who say that this is the beginning of humanism.

God addresses the humanism through the creation of nations. There are two factors on which nations are built. The first in language, God confounds their languages. The second in geography, God scatters them across the earth.

Note that nations are not a temporary thing. God continues to address nations throughout the Bible. His next focus in Genesis is on the calling of Abram to become Abraham, the father of nations. Eventually God focuses on His chosen people, the nation of Israel.

Take a look at the messages in the Bible. Much of God’s dealings are with nations, not individuals. Even at the end of time people from every nation and language are gathered around the throne of God.

Nations are part of God’s plan. They are necessary to keep us from being filled with human pride and seeking to live independent of God.

There is a big push toward unifying the world, a move toward Globalism. We used to view a pandemic as God’s judgement, and we would repent from our wicked ways and cry out to God to save us. That is no longer the case. God is no longer in the picture. Now, we believe that if we all unite and work together we can conquer disease. If we work together we can control the climates of the world. If fact, if we unite in one global effort there will be nothing that is impossible for us. And we can accomplish it all without even acknowledging God. He is irrelevant.

The current Globalism movement is inspired and directed by Satan. It is anti-God and will lead to the Anti-Christ. It is the return of Babel.

It will not end well for those who join the Globalist movement that will attempt to unite humans in large cities under one system of governance. As happened at Babel. God will come down and judge the earth. It will become evident who is in control and who is the King of Kings and LORD of Lords.

Maranatha—come quickly Lord Jesus.

Globalism, Nationalism and The Wall

Donald Trump is no longer President of the United States and yet he remains the central figure in political debate. The goals of the new administration are stated in terms of Donald Trump. The goal is to undo what Donald Trump has done.

One of the first things that Donald Trump did as president was to begin the building of a wall along America’s southern border. The argument given is simple, it has two components. We are a nation of law-abiding citizens. Respecting and upholding our laws is central to our very existence. Having an unprotected border is a threat to our national security. An open border is an open opportunity for terrorist, drug smugglers, sex traffickers and criminals of all kinds to enter our country.

The counter argument was that Donald Trump, and his supporters are racists who view all persons entering our country from Mexico and South America as dangerous criminals and a threat to our society. This argument acknowledges that most persons crossing the border illegally are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Some are fleeing oppressive governments or cities ravaged by crime. The argument appeals to America’s heart of generosity. It stresses that we are a nation of immigrants and that nearly all of us are descendant from people who came here for the exact same reasons.

Both of these arguments are emotionally charged. Both are designed to activate their respective supporters. Both are designed to quickly circulate through the national media and through social media. That is how it works in modern politics. The problem is that although both arguments are valid, neither one deals with the core issue.

I have a great respect for the great men who founded our nation. They were well studied and articulate. Many of them were experts on the political philosophies of the time. Questions of democracy verses monarchy verses a republic were well understood, but many of them had never been tested. They understood that no colony had ever severed ties with the mother country. Natural rights and liberties only existed in political philosophical writings, they had never been fully tested on a practical level. These were the questions of the day. These were the debates among our leaders.

On the streets there were uprisings over a stamp tax which was designed to “fact check” and limit public discourse. The most widely read pamphlet was Thomas Pain’s Common Sense. It contained passionate arguments, but they were based on political philosophy. We have changed, we no longer understand the philosophy is the rightful foundation on which policies are built. We focus on the symptoms the peripheral issues, not the foundational ones.  

The debate about protected borders or open borders is not about the borders. The borders are important, but they are not the debate. They are the surface issue that must be addressed after the foundational political philosophy is established. The question at hand is, “Do we follow a political philosophy of Globalism or one of Nationalism?” At another level this is a tension between local autonomy and centralized authority. Unfortunately, our leaders and our media do not believe that the American public is equipped to handle such an intellectual debate. They may be right.

The wall is the physical expression of the debate. The nationalist says, “Let’s Make America Great Again”. The focus is on America as an independent autonomous country that works primarily for the benefit of its citizens. That is not to say that there is no consideration of global events or global interests. The point is that the purpose of a representative government is to serve the people who elected them. A protected border becomes essential for the preservation of national autonomy and national identity.

The globalist’s say that we are citizens of the world. If the world is to survive then we must work together to solve global problems. We must put personal and national interests aside and join together in the greater fight for humanity. The elimination of borders becomes essential to us forming a global identity and functioning as one people.

If we can come to agreement as to where we stand on the globalist-nationalist continuum then we may be able to address the wall, immigration, and a host of other issues.

America’s Democratic-Republic is unique. A democracy is based on majority rule, but American democracy has always attempted balance. We have sought to balance the interest of the majority with the wellbeing of individuals and minorities. We have been far from perfect in this but protecting individual rights is a cornerstone of our democracy. Caring for and defending people from oppression and treating all persons equally under the law is not just a function of government it has been an important cultural value. There is always a push-pull tension and the pendulum swings back and forth.

The same can be said about Globalism and Nationalism. It need not be a choice between one extreme or the other. We can do both and seek to keep it in some type of balance. We can work toward the best interests of America and our citizens without becoming oppressive and taking unfair advantage of other countries.

Although there is room for both Globalism and Nationalism, we need to select one as our primary philosophical stance and the other as a peripheral issue. Are we primarily Globalists or Nationalists? Once this issue is settled, we can pursue a border enforcement policy which matches our political philosophy.

I will end this essay here. There is much more to be said about the history of these two competing political philosophies. I will address my interpretation and application of Biblical principles to this issue in a future article.

Media Bias Is Not What You Think

Often the mainstream media is accused of being biased. This accusation normally comes from conservatives.  Of course bias depends somewhat on your point of view. We talk in terms of left or right. That assumes some center and a person’s, or groups views are either left or right of center. In truth we are each biased as to where the center is, or should be. We tend to see left or right in relation to our own position or the position of the people with which we surround ourselves. If most people around us have a particular viewpoint we see that as the norm but it could be way to one side or the other.

So is the media biased? One report looked at the political affiliations of the journalist. The results show that Democrat journalists consistently outnumber Republicans.

From the Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/06/just-7-percent-of-journalists-are-republicans-thats-far-less-than-even-a-decade-ago/

political-affiliation
Image courtesy of The American Journalist in the Digital Age

That would lead us to conclude that there is a significant Democrat bias among reporters. Other research tends to support this conclusion also. If you watch the news attentively you can see the bias. Some is very obvious others are much more subtle but the bias is always there.  By the way, don’t be deceived about the designation of “Independent”. People, especially reporters, like to think of themselves as neutral and objective, but just because a person calls himself or herself independent does not mean they are neutral or objective.  When interviewed about their particular views and voting habits they nearly always fall squarely into a Republican or Democrat stance.

When it comes to politics and social issues we are taught to think in terms of Republican or Democrat, left or right, Conservative or Liberal. The media is thinking about something totally different. There is something that matters much more than who becomes President. What matters most is ratings, viewership and advertizing sales.

The media has many biases but the most important is creating a story that will make people tune in.  Notice how this has played out in this election cycle so far.  There were a dozen or so candidates for the Republican nomination but which one could they make out to be the most “controversial”, who would give them the greatest number of provocative sound bites. The obvious choice was Donald Trump and Trump knew it. If he could keep feeding them material then he would get free coverage on the news. From my estimation Trump got three times as much media coverage as all the other candidates combined.

Was any of it about real issues? Not really, it was about off handed remarks blown out of proportion to create some new “controversy”.  It was never about substance.

As we got to the Republican convention, Trump clearly had the nominations, but the media created a hype that somehow Cruz would try to pull a coop. Of course it made for a good story, and people tuned in to see what would happen but it was all media hype. Then there was the big “controversy” as to whether or not Cruz would endorse Trump.

If the primary media bias was about liberal of conservative polices then that would have been the content of the reporting, but it never is. It is always about superficial hype.

The same was true of the Democratic campaign. The Democratic leadership always wanted Hillary. It was always assumed that she would win the nomination. They have been working toward this sense Bill was President. Bernie Sanders was too extreme and never had a chance, but that does not make for a good news story. So Bernie became a big news story. They reported on his dedicated and energized youthful followers. They created a “real” threat to Hillary’s candidacy. Even at the Democratic Convention the media created a story. ‘Will Bernie endorse Hillary?’ ‘Will his supporters back her?’ The drama continues on the convention floor. Viewers stay tuned to see what will happen and the advertizing dollars keep rolling in.

Everyone thinks that in a presidential election either the Republicans or the Democrats win. The real winner is the media. Each party raised hundreds of millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter who wins the media gets it all. The more “controversy” they can create the more viewers they have; the more viewers the higher the cost for advertizing.  The media loves “Raciest” Trump and “Crooked” Hillary. Keep the scandals rolling in and the money will roll in right behind it.

Trump will say he hates the media and how biased they are. The media loves it and Trump loves the coverage it gets him. Trump challenges the media to show the record breaking turnout to his rallies and the pathetically poor turnout to the Hillary rallies. The media never shows the crowds. Trump says it is because they are biased toward Hillary. That may be true but mostly they are biased toward creating the appearance of a close race. As long as the race is close the viewing audience will stay energized.  If it looks like slam-dunk for Trump then the race is over and no one will watch.

For sure the media is bias. For sure they lean to the left. But the biggest bias is not what you think. They are biased toward themselves. They are biased towards controversy and the all mighty dollar. Who will win the race? The media will.

Touring Oppression, Obsession and Greed

Americans like to tour other countries. Sometimes we say that they have history all around them, but in America it is hard to find anything that is more than a few hundred years old. So we travel the rest of the world looking for really old stuff, stuff with real history. Of course the things we find are the great structures and works of architecture that have withstood the test of time: the pyramids, palaces, cathedrals, temples, fortresses, and castles.

In general, we don’t have those things in America. We think it is because we are not that old. The truth is age has little to do with it. It is about the structure of society and the concentration of power and wealth. Egypt does not have pyramids because it is old. Egypt has pyramids because it had a social structure that placed all power and wealth in the hands of a very few people. The rest of the country was enslaved and worked to accomplish the wishes of those at the top. It is estimated that tens of thousands of slaves worked to build the pyramids.

No one travels to Russia to see the great accomplishments of the communist system. No, they go to see the churches and palaces built during the time of the czars.

In Rome we see the great temples, forum, coliseum, aqueducts and fountains built by the thousands of slaves captured during the various military conquests. It is estimated that at one time there were ten slaves to every free man in Rome.

In France we see the ridiculously lavish, palaces and art collections of the Kings who taxed the peasants to near starvation.

At the Vatican you can see some great cathedrals and works of art paid for through abusive practices of paying indulgences.

As you travel from place to place the names change but the story is much the same. Wonderful architectural structures and beautiful collections of fine art all acquired because a few people had the power, wealth and control of public resources to lavish on themselves and their own interests. We don’t have those things in America not because we are not that old. We don’t have them because we have placed our focus on the freedom of opportunity for the common man. That is not to say that we don’t have some very wealthy people. We do, and they live some very lavish lifestyles. You can watch “lifestyles of the rich and famous” and see all kinds of wealthy Americans, but there is something radically different. We feel that these people earned their money, or at least we willingly bought their product of service. Somehow we don’t feel like they obtained their wealth through the oppression of others.

So there you have it. We admire these great structures, and art collections of history. We marvel at the great empires of the past that brought them into being. Then we create laws and social structures to guarantee that concentrations of wealth and power like that will never happen again.

It really is hypocritical tourism. We praise the accomplishments of oppressive empires of the past and condemn them in the present.

What kind of monuments will we build in our present day that will become the tourist attractions of the future? Will they be monuments of greed and oppression? Will they be monuments of individual expression, like the Watts Towers, Scotty’s Castle, or Salvation Mountain, that were built in the past, but new building codes will guarantee that type of individual expression never happens again. Maybe we will simply continue to admire the monuments of ancient history because we can no longer build them in the present.